Five Stats, Five Quotes: “I’m ready for those guys to graduate”, Seton Hall bests Creighton

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NEWARK, N.J. — No. 23 Seton Hall was fantastic in the second half to pull out a telling win against No. 25 Creighton to tip-off their Big East season.

In addition to quotes used in my game story, there was plenty to talk about in the aftermath of a heart-threatening game that had just about everything from injury scares, to scrums on the court, trash talking, and celebrations in front of a tremendous crowd.

Angel Delgado was as colorful as ever post-game, while Khadeen Carrington was relaxed and business-like and Kevin Willard embedded a slight jab at his star forward.

Quotes from all three plus five stats from an exciting game.

Five Stats

Creighton turned it over nine times in the second half. One of the best teams in the nation at protecting the rock, Greg McDermott’s team turned the ball over just three times at the half while shooting 54-percent from the floor. A series of turnovers late in the second half really helped the Hall string stops together and clamp down late-on; they also benefited from a 17-5 run to cut a 13-point lead to 62-63 before Creighton answered with an 8-1 counter-attack of their own.

Speaking of those turnovers, the Hall won the points off mistakes battle 22-9. Desi Rodriguez had as many steals (5) as everyone else in the game combined and several of those were at key points in the second half. Just like how Creighton scored a lot of easy buckets over the first 20 minutes, Seton Hall made sure to take a similar approach after the half.

This was the second-fastest game Seton Hall has played, by a slim margin. But it was certainly the most intense, all things considered. The Wagner game contained more possessions, but with the result never in doubt, this one takes the prize. Creighton’s inclination to get into their offense as quickly as possible was very obvious and aligned with their top-10 shortest average possession stat coming into the game; the Bluejays were as advertised in every department, including a shaky second half performance that some of their fans may tell you has become a pattern this year.

Angel Delgado led the team in assists (5), only Khyri Thomas (6) had more in the game. Without a true point guard on the roster capable of handling major minutes, Seton Hall can use all the help it can get in the ball movement department and Delgado has helped immensely whether it be via inside-out touches or spraying over-head outlet passes to get his team going on the fast break. While he only had one assist (the cheeky floater onto the block for Desi Rodriguez’ go-ahead basket) to go along with a timely 17 points tonight, Myles Powell has also helped in this category all season long.

Seton Hall’s bench played just 30 minutes combined. Creighton forward Ronnie Harrell Jr. played 28 off the bench by himself. While I’ve written about the ‘1B’ team being a key for this team, maybe the core six or seven guys will be relied upon by Kevin Willard more and more as the year goes on — something to watch, for sure.

Five Quotes

Kevin Willard:
On what held the team together after Angel Delgado fouled out: “His words in the huddle. First thing he said was ‘Maybe now we can stop the pick-and-roll’ [Willard added this as dry humor] and the second thing he said was ‘We aren’t losing this game. Do what you have to do to win this game.’ I thought he showed great leadership for not being in the game.”

Willard on defending Marcus Foster, specifically in the second half: “I thought we switched everything that they were doing and I thought were were switching aggressively in the second half that got him going away from the basket. In the first half, we were stuck in mud and we were letting them get too tight to the three-point line on early entry passes. They are too good offensively to let them get in a rhythm and we let them get in a rhythm.”

Willard on Ish Sanogo’s return to the team: “I thought Ish responded great. We made a family decision on the 26th. The seniors called a meeting with me, they had a meeting with the team. They had another meeting with me, then we had a meeting with Ish and his family, and the seniors were very adamant that he started with us, and he’s a big reason why we are where we are, he’s a great young man that has made a couple bad mistakes. They wanted him the rest of the way. It was a pretty much, I call it a family decision, but the seniors showed unbelievable leadership in the fact that it was their decision.”

Angel Delgado on Mike Nzei’s game: “Mike got me! That was the first thing he said: “I got you, I got 14 rebounds!” That’s the first thing he said. I was like ‘Yo, I freakin’ love you man. You don’t know how much I love you right now.’ Mike is fun to play with, he’s a hard-worker, he works every single possession. He got me, and I know that was good for him [too].”

Delgado on what type of animal his team is, after he called the Big East a pit bull: “My team, we’re a dinosaur. Destroy them in one bite!”

Khadeen Carrington on meeting with Ish Sanogo: “It was a meeting between myself, Desi, and Angel at first, then we brought it to Coach. We felt like we started with Ish, so that it was a big thing to finish with him. We had a convo with Ish, we told him all the extra stuff needs to stop. He’s really focused right now, and of course we’re going to need him down the stretch.”

Bonus quote from Greg McDermott on Seton Hall’s seniors: “I’m ready for those guys to graduate. I might come to their graduation and congratulate them … They’re just really talented, they got down and we even jumped on them to start the second half and they didn’t panic, they continued to play the way they played.”

  • Andrew Herbst

    Classy words from McDermott. This group is special. Have to enjoy every minute of watching these seniors.

  • VinBick

    It is redundant, but for the third time it is mentioned here, When we first heard of the ish issue, Desi posted on tweeter, “Family”. Whatever happened has been dealt with by the the family. Let’s all move forward.

    The team first, unselfish play carried the Hall to a crucial win last night. The balanced scoring and the over-powering defense down the stretch were so telling. Creighton has to be wondering today, “What hit us”?

    • Bob Murphy

      Hopefully this is all handled now. This group of seniors remembers are issue with our old point guard, back in their freshman year and how that really set the team back. It’s the last run for them here, so they can’t afford distractions. The Sanogo and Walker issues just before the league season started brought back some bad memories. However, with a group of seniors as team leaders, hopefully this is handled once and for all and we can focus on the games.

  • Hallbuster

    Give Willard and Sha credit. There has been a lot said over the years that Willard isn’t a good Xs and Os coach, well fact is he made tremendous adjustments at the half and his decision to go with ish and Nzei when Delgado fouled out instead of mamu prob won the game. McDermott is a great coach and a classy guy but he got out adjusted mid game by KW and by his own definition had no answers. Ps- if u watch a replay watch how they face guarded Powell and didn’t get him an inch of breathing room. He still managed to drop 3s in their face but wow that was clearly their defensive game plan.

    • Matty P

      Powell has been doing a great job and is going to give a lot of teams trouble if he keeps playing this way. I love his slight pump fake into a side step to get himself an open look.

      • PadrePirate

        He’s become quite a master at that. Once he sees that his defender has left his feet, he just slides over two feet and hits the same shot. I think BE defenses are going to start to stick him around the perimeter, making it harder for him to get open looks, but also opening up more avenues for drives, where he is also very good.

  • LBP

    Very well done Chris

  • Mike Walsh

    McDermott is a class act! Angel has got to stop the trash talking, every team will post his quotes in their locker room.

    • PadrePirate

      Agreed. I never noticed it before this season, but he’s been chippy on the court and quite a talker off the court. I like the fire and confidence, but I would prefer more quiet, get the job done, type focus. This team definitely needs leadership. I guess if Angel’s type of talk helps them, all the better.

      • Mike Walsh

        I love Angel’s energy and enthusiasm too and he ignites passion in his teammates, I was raised in an era where trash talk was frowned upon. Speak with your actions, no need for words.

  • Mike Walsh

    When Angel fouled out I had a feeling that our defense would clamp down. Angel needs to step up his defensive game if he wants a long professional career.

    • Jason

      True. As vital as Angel is for our offense, he can be a liability against athletic bigs that can step out and hit the three or drive past him in space. None of that was going down with Ish and Nzei in the game.

  • PadrePirate

    Wojo thinks Xavier looks like a nat’l championship level team. Time will tell. I think MU looks really good, while St John’s and Butler disappointing.

  • The Hobokenite

    A lot of credit to the crowd that finally came and in full force they did. It was a loud game. The lively NJ crowd finally came with the fire, lighting up the referees on so many bad calls, encouraging the team when we got down big, as well as putting pressure on the Creighton offensive with each possession down the stretch. You can tell the volume was getting to Creighton. I was in the front row, and it was intoxicating to see the passion in the Pirate faithful yelling support for their team. Especially all the guys on the sidelines who were all standing and just yelling at the top of their lungs against Creighton with each of their possessions at the end of the game. It was an amazing game and exhilarating that we won. If the crowd continues to bring it like that, the Rock will be difficult for any team who plays against us. Xavier, Villanova…it won’t matter.

  • Matty P

    Interesting article that I wanted to share from NBC Sports about how this group of seniors were put together and gets into some of the decisions that the seniors made with Sanogo with some interesting quotes from Carrington and Delgado.
    http://collegebasketball.nbcsports.com/2017/12/29/family-business-seton-halls-senior-class-has-a-special-bond-that-was-not-likely-three-years-ago/

    • Hallbuster

      Wow thanks for sharing that

    • SHU95

      Thank u for posting!

  • PadrePirate

    Any updates on St John’s Ponds and Lovett injuries? I’d love to beat the Johnnies at full strength, but we may have caught them at the right time.